Renal calculi, commonly known as Kidney stones, refer to the hard deposits made from salts and minerals built inside your kidneys.
Kidneys remove fluid and waste from your blood to form urine. When your blood possesses more waste and not much fluid, this waste then stacks up and sticks together in your kidneys. These clumps are then called kidney stones.
Temporary kidney stones can be quite aching but can be non-damaging if identified at the appropriate time.
Risk Factors and Causes
While any person can be infested with kidney stones, some individuals have a higher possibility than others to have them. Recognizing the possible causes can help you prevent the build-up of kidney stones.
Less Urine: Regular low urine volume may be a result of dehydration either from living under hot conditions, from hard exercise, or low intake of fluids. If your urine is dark yellow, then your urine volume is low. This means there is a high salt concentration in your urine.
Bad Diet: Consuming a sodium-rich diet can increase the risk of kidney stones. The same can be said for high protein and sugar diets as well. Certain diet recommendations are based upon the assessment of your metabolism and stone composition.
Digestive Diseases: Such diseases can affect electrolyte, calcium and water absorption, which can lead to the build-up of kidney stones. A few digestive disorders are- inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and bypass surgery.
Supplements: Vitamin C, diseases can affect electrolyte, calcium and water absorption, which can lead to the build-up of kidney stones.
Medical Conditions: Conditions such as repeated urinary tract infections, cystinuria, renal tubular acidosis, hyperparathyroidism, etc. can augment the risk of kidney stones.
Personal or Family History: If you had kidney stones in the past, the probability of repeat kidney stones are significantly higher.
Types of Kidney Stones
If you have a fair idea of the type of kidney stone, then you can determine its cause and get hints on how to lower the risk of kidney stone build-ups.
1. Uric Acid: Food items such as shellfish and organ meats have a higher concentration of purines. Its higher intake can lead to higher production of monosodium urate and may lead to the formation of kidney stones.
2. Struvite: These kidney stones are caused in the upper urinary tract and are less common. These can grow quickly and become large.
3. Calcium Oxalate: When calcium combines with oxalate in the urine, these stones are formed. Improper consumption of calcium and fluid can contribute to their development.
4. Cystine Stones: These stones are developed with a hereditary disorder known as cystinuria that impacts the kidneys. In this, the kidneys start to excrete too much a certain amino acid.
The size of kidney stones varies from a grain of sand to that of a golf ball! The larger the kidney stones, the more noticeable are the symptoms.
Here are a few symptoms which you must be aware of:
1. Chills and fever
2. Either your urine looks cloudy or smells bad
3. Vomiting or nausea
4. Blood present in the urines
5. Regular stomach pain or vague pain
6. Pain on either side of your lower back
When kidney stones cause blockage or irritation, they begin to result in severe pain. In most scenarios, kidney stones pass without resulting in stark damage, but not without causing pain.
How to Prevent Kidney Stones?
Read on to find out some effective tips which you can follow to prevent kidney stones.
1. Drink at least 3 liters of liquid per day. Ensure you increase this number when you heavily sweat from exercise or when you are out in hot weather. While almost every fluid counts to your liquid intake, it is advisable to consume either no-calorie or at least a low-calorie drink.
2. Reduce the level of sodium in your diet. Sodium can cause a hike in the level of both urine cystine and calcium. Various health groups recommend not consuming more than 2,300 mg of salt per day. Cheese, pickles, olives, table salt, canned soups and sauces, chips, etc. should be avoided or consumed in moderation.
3. Increase the intake of fruits and vegetables. Five servings of fruits and vegetables daily are recommended. These food items are rich in fibre, magnesium, potassium, antioxidants, citrate, etc. which prevent the build-up of stones.
4. Eat less meat. In case your urine has a high concentration of uric acid, you must reduce consuming animal protein. The amount is based on how much you eat now and how your diet impacts your uric acid levels.
Treatment for kidney stones is tailored as per the type of kidney stones. Our specialists can prescribe you medications to help prevent the formation of kidney stones or even discuss the best methods of treatment. If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, book your appointment here.